Houston Student Selected to be Part of CIS National Art Exhibit
Icetria Green, a senior at Houston Independent School District’s Sterling High School, was selected by Communities In Schools National for a mosaic project by renowned pop artist Jason Mecier. The project features Icetria and six other students from across the country, each in individual mosaics that are on display in the “What We Are Made Of” exhibition at Touchstone Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The exhibit serves as a launching point for a yearlong CIS campaign focusing on student stories. “Through the art exhibit, the campaign will take a deeper look at seven students and showcase their individual journeys through school and highlight the communities of support that have played a role in their success,” an announcement from CIS National states.
Icetria – the oldest of four children – plans to attend Texas Southern University (TSU) after graduation and major in psychology. She wants to be a psychiatrist because she is interested in how the mind works and she loves helping people.
She and her sister and two brothers have been raised by a single mother. The family’s home flooded during Hurricane Harvey and they moved in with relatives until Icetria’s mother got back on her feet. For a couple months, Icetria had to live with her grandparents – separate from her mom and siblings, which was difficult. But that’s what it took to be closer to her school and be academically successful.
As the oldest sibling and the first person in her family to be college-bound, Icetria said she struggled to find the kind of guidance she needed in life. “I always felt like the underdog. I was the less-privileged child in school, and I felt like I had no one to turn to for advice.”
One person Icetria found she could turn to is Alma Gutierrez, CIS of Houston’s student support specialist at Sterling High School, who Icetria called her “helping hand.”
“She presents me with opportunities, and she keeps me engaged, and she’s there just to listen to me,” Icetria said.
Gutierrez and CIS of Houston stepped in to help Icetria and her family in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, too, providing financial support to help them recuperate after the storm, but also helping Icetria open up and cope with the stress brought by Harvey and other day-to-day struggles.
“Icetria has a hard time opening up. She’s very independent, which says a lot about her, but it was important for her to talk about things,” Gutierrez said. “I was able to help her cope just by listening and making time for her, And she was able to overcome every obstacle thrown her way, while still accomplishing what she needed to and helping her family get their feet on the ground.”
From helping her family to helping her peers, Icetria is always ready to be someone else’s “helping hand.” This mosaic project and the “What We Are Made Of” campaign may be one more way for her to do that.
“She wants to help people overcome their challenges and believe in themselves.,” Gutierrez said. “This project is a huge stepping stone for her because she can reach teens all over the country to show them who she is, tell them that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and tell them, ‘If you look for help, the help is there.’”
The “What We Are Made Of” exhibition is on display at the Touchstone Gallery through January 31. Icetria traveled to Washington D.C. for an unveiling event on January 22, which included a portrait reveal of each of the seven students portrayed in the artwork. Following the exhibit, they will spend the year traveling across the country to each student’s hometown and other select events to further raise awareness of their stories.
Please stay tuned for more information on when the tour will arrive in Houston!